Georgia – Michmutters

Trump hires prominent Atlanta attorney for election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney known for defending famous rappers to represent him in matters related to the special grand jury that’s investigating whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia.

Drew Findling’s clients have included Cardi B, Migos and Gucci Mane, as well as comedian Katt Williams. His Twitter bio of him includes the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer and his Instagram feed of him is filled with photos of him posing with his well-known clients.

His most recent Instagram post, dated two days after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, says his signature of him is committed to “fighting to restore a woman’s right to choose, which has been destroyed by the Supreme Court,” suggesting his personal views of him do n’t align with those of Trump’s Republican Party . I have offered to defend anyone charged under Georgia’s restrictive abortion law free of charge.

After Trump insulted basketball star LeBron James’s intelligence in an August 2018 tweet, Findling called Trump the “racist architect of fraudulent Trump University” in a tweet and ended the post with “POTUS pathetic once again!”

The Findling Law Firm said in a statement released Thursday that it has been hired, along with attorneys Jennifer Little and Dwight Thomas, to represent Trump.

Findling said in an emailed statement that he is a “passionate advocate against injustice” and will “strongly defend” Trump.

“I may differ politically from many of my clients, but that doesn’t change my commitment to defend against wrongful investigations,” Findling said. “In this case, the focus on President Trump in Fulton County, Georgia is clearly an erroneous and politically driven persecution and along with my office and co-counsel, I am fully committed to defend against this injustice.”

Little, a former prosecutor, said in an emailed statement that the attorneys were “handpicked” on Trump’s behalf and that “the composition of our team only adds to the integrity of his defense.”

“A politically diverse group of attorneys with differing perspectives have all come to the same conclusion — there have been no violations of Georgia law,” she said. “We as a team look forward to vigorously defending our client and the Constitution.”

Thomas said he has extensive past experience in special grand jury investigations and is serving as a consultant. Other lawyers who have clients who are connected to the investigation have also reached out to him, he said, but he declined to name them.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year, and the special grand jury was seated in May at her request.

Willis has confirmed since the early days of the investigation that she’s interested in a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during that call. “Because we won the state.”

Willis last month filed petitions seeking to compel testimony before the special grand jury from seven Trump associates and advisers, including former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and US Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. And she has said that she is considering subpoenaing the former president himself.

In addition to representing high-profile musical artists and other entertainers, Findling successfully defended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill in a racketeering trial that threatened to end his law enforcement career. Hill was acquired in 2013 on 27 felony charges in an indictment that accused him of using his office for personal gain.

Findling is currently defending Hill against charges in a federal indictment accusing him of violating the civil rights of several people in his agency’s custody by ordering that they be unnecessarily strapped into a restraint chair and left there for hours.

He also defended Mitzi Bickers, a former Atlanta city official was the first person to go to trial in a long-running federal investigation into corruption at City Hall under former Mayor Kasim Reed. A jury earlier this year found Bickers guilty on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery. Findling said they plan to appeal.



Entire Starbucks team walks out during shift after manager fires union leader

An entire store of Starbucks workers have walked out of their cafe mid-shift, in support of a colleague they claim was “unjustly” terminated.

In a TikTok video which has been viewed more than 18.6 million times, a team of nine workers can be seen leaving the store in Buffalo, New York.

The protest occurred after barista Sam Amato – who is also a union leader – was reportedly fired on the week of his 13th anniversary with the company.

After the employees leave, a woman who appears to be the store manager can be seen talking on the phone. The on-screen caption in the video reads: “* manager realizes she she’s messed up *”.

In a previous video Mr Amato claimed he was pulled aside by two store managers and was told he was being let go because he “modified operations and closed the lobby” without getting his “store manager’s permission”.

“It is a BS reason. It’s because I’m a union leader,” claimed Sam.

“They failed to provide any details or give me any information. They wrote things that were not true.

“After 13 years they refused to give me any details why I was fired.”

In the comments, the majority of TikTok users supported the worker’s efforts.

“Starbucks really is hell bent on ruining their reputation aren’t they,” read one comment.

“Good on you guys. Stand together. Keep this energy going,” read another.

“Starbucks, I’m a loyal customer but trust me when I tell you. That can change real quick friend!” shared another.

Under United States labor laws, workers in all 50 states bar Montana are subject to at-will employment. This means employees can be fired without prior warning and without the need for the employer to establish a cause. However, employers can still be challenged on the grounds of wrongful termination – like discrimination.

While some states have exceptions – for example, workers in the public sector, or those under union agreements – the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New York, and Rhode Island have no exceptions in regards as to why an employee may be terminated.

Since late 2021, Starbucks employees across the US’ 9000+ corporate-owned stores have attempted to unionize with Workers United. As of June 14, 143 stores have unionized, while 120 other outposts were petitioning for union elections, Guardian reports.

Workers United stated that the coffee giant has been systematically cutting employee hours in an effort to convince longtime employees to retire, before replacing them with workers who won’t unionise, the New York Times reports.

“Starbucks is also using policies that have not previously been enforced, and policies that would not have resulted in termination, as a pretext for firing union leaders,” the union said in a statement.

With around 33,833 stories in 80 countries, Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain and is estimated to be worth A$140 billion.



YouTubers reel in 86 military rockets from GA river: Video

A lineup of bullets, rockets and an armored plate pulled out of the river by the YouTubers.

A lineup of bullets, rockets and an armored plate pulled out of the river by the YouTubers.

Screengrab from Outdoors Weekly’s Youtube video

Within minutes of dropping their giant magnet into a river running through Georgia’s Fort Stewart, YouTubers Bryce Nachtwey and Matt Jackson were pulling up belts of rusted ammunition, mortar and armor plates.

In the eyes of a magnet fisher or treasure hunter, they had hit the tactical jackpot.

Then, they reeled in a mysterious Delta Air Lines bag stuffed to the brim with rockets. There were 86 in total, among other military equipment, the fishers counted in a YouTube video.

“This is probably the craziest thing we’ve ever found,” Nachtwey said in his YouTube video, adding that they believed the bag was full of “stolen military equipment.”

The group’s excitement was quelled, however, after they notified the authorities to turn in the items.

In the end, Nachtwey, Jackson and the third member of their group left with $340 in fines and a court date.

The team went fishing on June 24 and checked with the Department of Natural Resources before arriving at the river to magnet fish, according to the video.

After they pulled up the rockets, armor plates, bullets, navigation equipment and other items, the group called the police and a military police officer arrived to assess the situation, the video showed.

A game warden with the Fort Stewart Conservation Law Enforcement arrived and told the group they would be getting cited, according to the Military Times.

The alternative to tickets, the game warden added in the video, would be taking the group to jail for acquiring military property, even though they called authorities to handle it.

“You’re all getting tickets. You can come to court and talk to a judge,” the warden said. “The reason magnet fishing is not allowed is because of exactly what y’all got right there. You don’t know what’s going to blow up and what’s not going to blow up.”

The warden added that even if the group intended on cleaning up the waterways by removing the material, the base’s bomb disposal squad is responsible for that.

holding rockets.png
The magnet fishers reeled in stray rockets, a tank shell, navigation equipment and other items from the river. Screengrab from Outdoors Weekly’s YouTube video

In his video, Nachtwey tried to explain that the group believed that the bridge was available to fish from because it was marked as a “green area” on the DNR’s resource map for fishing.

The game warden replied that the “green areas” cleared for fishing in the state don’t apply to military property such as Fort Stewart.

“Y’all would have been better off just leaving that… down there,” the warden said in the video.

Nachtwey and the group were cited for recreating without a permit, entering a restricted area and unauthorized magnet detecting, Fort Stewart told McClatchy News in an email.

“Because Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is an active training facility, ammunition of various sizes is fired here on a regular basis. There is always (the possibility) a potential unexploded ordnance can end up in the environment, to include rivers,” a Fort Stewart spokesperson told McClatchy News. “The risk of unexploded ordnance being present throughout the training area, regardless of how it got there, is one reason why activities like magnet detecting is not allowed.”

The three YouTubers’ court date is Sept. 9, according to the game warden.

Despite the ends, the groups’ actions were largely well-received by online viewers.

“It’s quite scary to think of all that stuff just rotting away in our streams and rivers,” one person commented.

“I understand the officer’s concern about people magnet fishing and pulling stuff like that from the river, but instead of just voicing his concern and appreciating you guys cleaning up the waterways, he wrote the ticket, which would make other people less likely to turn in the stuff they found, which is really important,” another commenter said.

A Fort Stewart spokesperson added that people should remember the “three R’s” if they ever come across something that looks like an explosive: recognize, retreat and report.

The Fort Stewart base is about 45 miles southwest of Savannah.

This story was originally published August 9, 2022 5:05 PM.

Profile Image of Alison Cutler

Alison Cutler is a National Real Time Reporter for the Southeast at McClatchy. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and previously worked for The News Leader in Staunton, VA, a branch of USAToday.



Lawyer: Giuliani won’t testify Tuesday in Ga. election test

ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani will not appear as scheduled Tuesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta that’s investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia, his lawyer said.

A judge last month had ordered Giuliani, a Trump lawyer and former New York City mayor, to appear before the special grand jury Tuesday.

But Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, told The Associated Press on Monday that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the special grand jury, had excused Giuliani for the day.

Nothing in publicly available court documents indicates that Giuliani is excused from appearing, but McBurney has scheduled a hearing for 12:30 pm Tuesday to hear arguments on a court filing from Giuliani seeking to delay his appearance. In a court filing Monday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asked the judge to deny Giuliani’s request for a delay and to instruct him to appear before the special grand jury as ordered.

Willis opened an investigation early last year, and a special grand jury with subpoena power was seated in May at her request.

Last month she filed petitions seeking to compel testimony from seven Trump advisers and associates, including Giuliani. Because they don’t live in Georgia, she had to use a process that involves getting a judge in the state where they live to order them to appear.

New York Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber on July 13 issued an order directing Giuliani to appear before the special grand jury on Aug. 9 and on any other dates ordered by the court in Atlanta.

Giuliani’s legal team last week asked Willis’ office to delay his appearance, saying he was unable to travel because of a medical procedure. That request was rejected after Willis’ team found evidence on social media that he had traveled since his medical procedure.

A Giuliani attorney then clarified to Willis’s team that Giuliani is not cleared for air travel, but Willis still refused to postpone his appearance, the motion says.

In her Monday court filing, Willis wrote that her team had obtained records indicating that between July 19 and July 21, Giuliani bought multiple airline tickets, including tickets to Rome, Italy, and Zurich, Switzerland, for travel dates between July 22 and July 29 Willis said her team offered to provide alternative transportation — including bus or train fare — if Giuliani wasn’t cleared for air travel.

Giuliani had also offered to appear virtually, for example by Zoom, his motion says.

“It is important to note here that Mr. Giuliani is no way seeking to inappropriately delay, or obstruct these proceedings or avoid giving evidence or testimony that is not subject to some claim of privilege in this matter,” the motion says, noting that Giuliani had appeared virtually before the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol and testified for more than nine hours.

“Mr. Giuliani is willing to do the same here under conditions that replicate a grand jury proceeding,” the motion says.

In the petition for Giuliani’s testimony, Willis identified him as both a personal attorney for Trump and a lead attorney for his campaign.

She wrote that he and others presented a Georgia state Senate subcommittee with a video recording of election workers that Giuliani allegedly showed them producing “suitcases” of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers.

Within 24 hours of that hearing on Dec. 3, 2020, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office had debunked the video and said that it had found that no voter fraud had taken place at the site. Nevertheless, Giuliani continued to make statements to the public and in subsequent legislative hearings claiming widespread voter fraud using that debunked video, Willis wrote.

Evidence shows that Giuliani’s appearance and testimony at the hearing “was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the petition says.


Tucker reported from Washington.



Ahmaud Arbery killers’ sentencing for federal hate crimes: Live updates

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The white man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery after chasing the 25-year-old Black man in a Georgia neighborhood was sentenced Monday to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime.

Travis McMichael was sentenced by US District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in the port city of Brunswick. His punishment of him is largely symbolic, as McMichael was sentenced earlier this year to life without parole in a Georgia state court for Arbery’s murder.

Wood said McMichael had received a fair trial.

“And it’s not lost on the court that it was the kind of trial that Ahmaud Arbery did not receive before he was shot and killed,” the judge said.

Before the sentencing, she heard from members of Arbery’s family. Her mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she feels every shot that was fired at her son from her everyday.

“It’s so unfair, so unfair, so unfair that he was killed while he was not even committing a crime,” she said.

McMichael declined to address the court, but his attorney, Amy Lee Copeland, said her client had no convictions before Arbery’s slaying and had served in the US Coast Guard. She said a lighter sentence would be more consistent with what similarly charged defendants have received in other cases, noting that the officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, got 21 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights, though he was not charged with targeting Floyd because of his race.

McMichael was one of three defendants convicted in February of federal hate crime charges. His father, Greg McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan had sentencing hearings scheduled later Monday.

The McMichaels armed themselves with guns and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery after he ran past their home on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of McMichael shooting Arbery with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed at the weapon.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar. Investigators determined he was unarmed and had committed no crimes.

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice and killings of unarmed Black people including Floyd and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Those two cases also resulted in the Justice Department bringing federal charges.

“The evidence we presented at trial proved … what so many people felt in their hearts when they watched the video of Ahmaud’s tragic and unnecessary death: This would have never happened if he had been white,” prosecutor Christopher Perras said before Travis McMichael was sentenced.

Greg McMichael and Bryan also face possible life sentences after a jury convicted them in February of federal hate crimes, concluding that they violated Arbery’s civil rights and targeted him because of his race. All three men were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels face additional penalties for using firearms to commit a violent crime.

A state Superior Court judge imposed life sentences for all three men in January for Arbery’s murder, with both McMichaels denied any chance of parole.

All three defendants have remained jailed in coastal Glynn County, in the custody of US marshals, while awaiting sentencing after their federal convictions in January.

Because they were first charged and convicted of murder in a state court, protocol would have turned them over to the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve their life terms in a state prison.

In a court filings last week, both Travis and Greg McMichael asked the judge to instead divert them to a federal prisonsaying they won’t be safe in a Georgia prison system that’s the subject of a US Justice Department investigation focused on violence between inmates.

Copeland said during Monday’s hearing for Travis McMichael that her client has received hundreds of threats that he will be killed as soon as he arrives at state prison and that his photo has been circulated there on illegal phones.

“I am concerned your honor that my client effectively faces a back door death penalty,” she said, adding that “retribution and revenge” were not sentencing factors, even for a defendant who is “publicly reviled.”

Arbery’s family insisted that Travis McMichael serve his sentence in a state prison. His father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said Travis McMichael had shown his son no mercy and served to “rot” in state prison.

“You killed him because he was a Black man and you hate Black people,” he said. “You deserve no mercy.”

Wood said she didn’t have the authority to order the state to relinquish custody of Travis McMichael to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but also wasn’t inclined to do so in his case.

During the February hate crimes trial, prosecutors fortified their case that Arbery’s killing was motivated by racism by showing the jury roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made disparaging comments about Black people.

Defense attorneys for the three men argued the McMichaels and Bryan didn’t pursue Arbery because of his race but acted on an earnest — though erroneous — suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.



Federal judge rules that Georgia commission elections discriminate against Black voters

A federal judge ruled on Friday that holding statewide elections for a Georgia utility regulatory body discriminates against Black voters and delayed the elections scheduled for November to a later date.

Steven Grimberg, the US district judge for the Northern District of Georgia, said in the ruling that the statewide election for the state’s Public Service Commission, which oversees residents’ access to telecommunications, electric and natural gas services, unlawfully dilutes the votes of Black citizens .

Two seats on the five-member commission were scheduled to be up for election in November. Current state election law requires a candidate for a seat on the commission to live in one of the five districts they are running to represent, but voters from the entire state can vote for all five seats regardless of where they live.

Grimberg wrote that the election system for the commission violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s second section, which states that no qualification, standard, practice or procedure can be imposed by any state to deny citizens’ right to vote based on race or color.

The plaintiffs are Black voters in one of the districts where an election was set to take place in November. The ruling states that they testified that they have not been prevented from voting in Georgia because of their race, but that race plays a role in the election.

Experts testified that there is “strong evidence” of racial polarization in the elections and that Black and white voters are “cohesive” in the candidates they support. But because the number of white voters outnumbers the number of Black voters, the Black-preferred candidates do not win.

One expert said during the case that the candidate supported by white voters won 11 out of 11 times since the current state law went into effect, and another expert testified that only one Black candidate has ever been elected to the commission, despite Georgia’s large Black population. .

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an attorney for the defendant, Brad Raffensperger, who oversees the election in his capacity as Georgia secretary of state, argued that Black voters have been able to fully participate in the political process. The attorney said Black-supported candidates not winning does not mean that the voting system is discriminatory.

The ruling states that the attorney for Raffensperger said during a preliminary hearing that the state would have the current incumbent commissioners running in the races “holdover” in their positions until a new election can be held.

Nicolas Martinez, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the court’s decision vindicates their argument that Georgia’s statewide election method for the commission unlawfully dilutes Black votes.

“This ruling immediately impacts how millions of Georgians will elect those powerful officials who determine how much everyday folks must pay for basic utilities,” he said. “It is one of the most important decisions to advance voting rights in a generation.”

This story was updated at 4:24 pm



Georgians can claim an embryo as a dependent on tax returns

The Georgia Department of Revenue said Monday that in-state residents can claim embryos with a “detectable human heartbeat” as dependents on their taxes.

It added that an embryo “with a detectable heartbeat” has been added to the definition of dependent, effective July 20, the date of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which allows all abortions in the state to be banned once a fetal heartbeat is detected by an ultrasound.

The Supreme Court in late June overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion. Since that ruling, a number of states have moved to ban abortions.

Georgia’s own abortion law includes exceptions for rape and incest, as long as a police report is filed. It also allows for later abortions in cases that the mother’s life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus unviable.

The July Circuit Court decision also redefined its “personhood” provision throughout Georgia law to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.

The statement by the Georgia Department of Revenue added that as of July 20, taxpayers can claim an exemption in the amount of $3,000 per embryo.

An exemption can be claimed if a taxpayer has “an unborn child (or children)” with a detectable heartbeat which the statement said may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation.

“Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation shall be provided to support the dependent deduction claimed if requested by the Department,” the statement added.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager for Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, tweeted on Tuesday“So what happens when you claim your fetus as a dependent and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion?”

While Abrams did not reference the statement by the Georgia Department of Revenue, she added in a tweet on tuesday that an abortion is “a medical decision between a woman and her doctor” and that Georgia should not be a state where “the governor makes it his decision to deny women medical care.”



Alex de Minaur wins Atlanta Open as Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis claims doubles title

Australia Day came early in Atlanta after Alex de Minaur claimed the men’s singles title before Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis swept the doubles.

Australian men’s No.1 de Minaur had his second taste of success in the Georgia capital, beating American Jenson Brooksby to continue his run of fine form.

De Minaur, who won the Atlanta Open three years ago, triumphed over Brooksby 6-3, 6-3 to lift the ATP 250 tournament trophy once more.

On the back of the victory he’s set to jump nine places in the world rankings to 21, which bodes well for the looming US Open.

When he won at Atlanta in 2019 he went on to reach the fourth round of the major, which begins at the end of August.

It’s de Minaur’s first title since June last year at Eastbourne, and his sixth ATP Tour title overall.

De Minaur had to work hard to reach the decider, rallying from a set down in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, but the gritty Australian persevered when under pressure.

“It was great to get another title under my name — it’s my sixth and not a lot of people have been able to do that, so I feel great,” said de Minaur, who this year reached the second week of Wimbledon for the first time.

“I feel great about my game. I’ve put a lot of work in, so it’s great to see the hard work being rewarded.”

The final was a clash between two of the ATP Tour’s best defenders, but it was de Minaur’s attacking play that proved critical as he clawed past the home favorite in 91 minutes.

“I knew coming in it would be a very tactical, chess-like match that we were going to both play,” the third seed said.

“I’m happy I was able to execute my game plan and get the win but it was a very tough match.

“Plenty of times it could have gone either way and even though the scoreboard was three and three, it felt very, very tight.”

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios celebrate after claiming the doubles title in Atlanta.(Getty Images: Kevin C. Cox)

Australian Open doubles champions Kyrgios and Kokkinakis were also celebrating after winning an all-Aussie doubles final.

Despite pulling out of the singles with a knee complaint, Kyrgios teamed with his good friend to score a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory over Jason Kubler and John Peers.

The second seeds, who wrapped up a three-set win in a rain-delayed semi over Americans Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock earlier in the day, clinched their second tour-level title as a team in 94 minutes.

It was 26-year-old Kokkinakis’ third career ATP doubles title — his first outside Australia — and a third career ATP doubles title for 27-year-old Kyrgios, who maintains his unbeaten record in tour-level doubles deciders.

The pair’s 2022 season record now stands at 13 wins from 15 matches.




University professor fired after police charge him for murder of student

ATLANTA (CBS46/Gray News) – A university in Georgia fired a professor after police said the man was arrested for the murder of a student early Saturday morning.

The Carrollton Police Department said 47-year-old Richard Sigman is charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The charges come after police say 18-year-old Anna Jones showed up to a hospital with a gunshot wound on July 30 just before 12:30 am

Investigators said preliminary information indicates that the former professor and another man got into a verbal argument at a restaurant, WGCL reported.

The man reportedly told police Sigman had threatened to shoot him. When security approached Sigman, they saw he had a weapon and told him to leave.

The investigation indicates Sigman then walked into the parking lot and began shooting into a parked vehicle, hitting Jones, who was inside.

The University of West Georgia President Brendan Kelly released the following statement saying in part:

“On behalf of the university, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to Anna’s family and many friends. We know this news is difficult to process and affects many members of our university community. We ask that you keep Anna’s family, friends, and all who have been touched by this tragedy in your thoughts during this tremendously difficult time.”

According to police, friends of Jones immediately drove her to the hospital where she later died.

Jones had recently graduated from Mount Zion High School, the school’s Facebook page says, and had planned to go to the University of West Georgia.

Ethan Lepard, a friend of Jones, said she was a sweet, caring girl and that he “will miss her forever.”

“There are so many good qualities, no one could list them all,” he said. “She was always so positive, and she was an amazing friend to everyone.”

The university is offering counseling and support services to all students, faculty and staff. Resources can be found at

Students can also call the UWG Counseling Center 24/7 by dialing 678-839-6428 and selecting option 2.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Carrollton Police Department at 770-834-4451.

Copyright 2022 WGCL via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



University of West Georgia Professor Richard Sigman Accused of Gunning Down 18-Year-Old Student Anna Jones

A University of West Georgia professor fatally shot one of his own school’s students in a parking lot in the early hours of Saturday, Carrollton Police said.

Richard Sigman, 47, is now facing a murder charge over the death of 18-year-old Anna Jones.

According to police in Carrollton, a college town located about 50 miles west of Atlanta, Sigman threatened to whip out his gun during a verbal fight with another man in the parking lot of a pizza joint at 12:30 am Saturday.

The man alerted a security guard and when the guard saw that Sigman was indeed armed, police say they asked him to leave. But Sigman walked away and began to shoot into a vehicle parked in the lot near Adamson Square, a busy nighttime district in downtown Carrollton.

One of the bullets hit Jones, though it’s unclear if she was the intended target or if she knew Sigman. Her friends of her drove her to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

In a GoFundMe organized to cover funeral expenses, Jones was described as “a beautiful, sweet soul” whose “smile would light up a room.”

“This was a devastating and senseless crime that left a lot of hearts broken, a community mourning, and a family grieving,” the fundraiser said.

Relatives and friends also took to social media to express their grief and shock, with one friend writing that “to know Anna was to love Anna.” Stephanie Hodges, one of Jones’ former teachers, wrote that the 18-year-old freshman was planning on becoming a teacher herself, having had a natural knack for working with children.

Another friend, Emma Phillips, described Jones as “endlessly kind, selfless, extremely loving, hilarious, and overall the life of every party. She was simply full of life and love. She had such a love for her family, friends, and her home de ella mount zion. ”

“I remember multiple times her buying me clothes, dinner, and even paying for me to get my nails done because I had no money and she wanted me to feel included,” Phillips wrote. “That’s exactly how she was… Anything I needed, she was there to give it. I wish I could be half as selfless as she was.”

A relative told The Daily Beast on Sunday afternoon that the family is not yet ready to speak publicly about Jones’ death.

Zoie Whitestone, who was one of Sigman’s students last semester, told The Daily Beast Sigman taught upperclassmen management courses.

“Many of us had him a few months ago and never would’ve suspected this,” she said.

The University has since fired Sigman. “On behalf of the university, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to Anna’s family and many friends,” UWG President Dr. Brendan Kelly said in the statement. “We know this news is difficult to process and affects many members of our university community. We ask that you keep Anna’s family, friends, and all who have been touched by this tragedy in your thoughts during this tremendously difficult time.”